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Christmas - Luke 1

This is a family service talk by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 1st July 2007.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use larger text.

 

Me:  OK, if you’d like to take a seat. 
            [looking at Daisy]  Hello Daisy.  We missed you last month. 

Daisy:   I know.  I was planning to be here.

Me:  But your mum and dad got a last minute half-term deal.

Daisy:  How did you know?

Me:    Oh, I just find out these things!
            So tell me all about it – what did you get up to?

Daisy:  Well we went to London. 

Me:    Any photos?

Daisy:   I gave them to you earlier.

Me:  Oh silly me.  [London mum photo on screen]

Daisy:  Here’s mum in Trafalgar square. 

Me:  Did you go into the National Gallery?

Daisy:  Boring.   But we did see the changing of the guard.  [London brother photo on screen]    

Me:  And that’s your brother. 

Daisy:  [condescendingly]  Yesssssss!  The next one’s better.  [London Tower bridge photo on screen]    It’s me at Tower bridge.    Tower-tastic and all that.

Me:  [dad London photo on screen]   And what’s this? 

Daisy:  Well it’s Dad when we were on this giant big wheel sort of thing called the London Eye -  a bit like the one at Hull Fair.   

Me:  So did you get a good view at the top?

Daisy:  Amazing.  Dad even said he could see the queen waving to us out of the window at Buckingham palace. 

Me:   Yesssss.  But apart from that, sounds great. 

Daisy:   It was, but the journey back wasn’t.   [photos off - blank screen ]

Me:    What, you mean a long boring car journey?

Daisy:    Yeah, sort of.

Me:  What do you mean sort of?

Daisy:    Well we were in the car for what seemed like forever. 

Me:   Yes.

Daisy:    And then we had a sort of accident. 

Me:   Oh no.  Was everyone all right?

Daisy:  Well mum was going a bit mental, but there was no blood if that’s what you mean.

Me:   So what happened then?

Daisy:  Well there was this smell in the car.

Me:  What kind of smell.   

Daisy:  Well my annoying brother said it was my smelly feet! 

Me:   He would!

Daisy:     But it was a burning plastic kind of smell. 

Me:   What you mean the car was on fire?

Daisy:    [fast and excitedly] No, but there was a big bang and then I went all dizzy.  And then there was another bang.  And when I opened my eyes again, we’d crashed into this kind of fence looking out onto a river. 

Me:  Oh no!

Daisy:  Dad was saying something about a tyre, and mum was just screaming.

Me:   So were you screaming as well?

Daisy:    No, I was just shaking and it felt like I was sort of floating round the car.

Me:   But everyone was all right.

Daisy:    I think so. Dad made us get out of the car and walk along this spare lane.

Me:  You mean the hard shoulder.   

Daisy:   No my shoulder was fine.

Me:    OK and then what?

Daisy:  Well we got to the bottom of the bridge and dad made us climb up the grassy bank a bit, because these cars and lorries kept zooming by going vruummmmm,   vrummmmmm.

Me:  So were you scared?

Daisy: Well I did start crying.    I thought we’d have to stay there for the night.

Me:   Ahhh.  Shall we have a big ahhh for Daisy.

Daisy:  But dad gave us all a big cuddle, prayed a prayer and said everything was going to be alright. 

Me:   How was that then?

Daisy:  Well dad said he’d spent some money on something call the AA.

Me:    Oh yeah, we do that as well.

Daisy:  And he said that because he’d paid this money, these AA people had promised to come and help us get out of trouble. 

Me:   So did that make you feel better?

Daisy:   Not then  [pause]  I was still scared and didn’t understand what he was talking about. 

Me:    So did the AA come to help?

Daisy:  Yeah;  they turn up with a lorry - got the car on the back and then we all got in the back of the lorry. 

Me:    So you had a problem.

Daisy:    Big problem.

Me:    You were scared and didn’t know what was going to happen.

Daisy:  Big time.

Me:    But the AA had promised your dad that they’d come and help if there was ever a problem.

Daisy:    Yep!

Me:   And when you had a problem, the AA kept their promise.  They came and helped you.  

Daisy:    Yep!

Link into Talk, continuing puppet sketch

Me:  And someone keeping their promise and sending help is what today’s Bible story is all about.

Daisy:  I thought you said it was all about Christmas?

Me:  Well it is.    Can you remember where we’ve got to in the story of the whole Bible?

Daisy:   I think so.  After King David, came King Solomon.

Me:  Well remembered.

Daisy:  But King Solomon disobeyed God and worshipped a wooden idol. 

Me:  That’s right.   And God promised that if His people kept on disobeying Him, then he’d have to chuck them out of the Promised Land. 

Daisy:  Just like he chucked Adam and Even out of the Garden of Eden. 

Me:  Right again.  But what you missed last time was the sad story of the exile. 

Daisy:  The sad story of what?

Me:  The exile.  Because the kings that came after Solomon kept on disobeying God and so did the people. 

Daisy:  Ut Ohhhhh.  Sounds bad.

Me: It was.  Because God always keeps His promises.  So he had to chuck them of the Promised Land.   And He did it by sending the king of Babylon to destroy Jerusalem and take the people off into exile.  So God's people weren't a nation any more.  They weren't in God's Promised land. They weren't blessed and happy any more.  All because they didn't want to live God's way.

Daisy:  we’re talking well bad.

Me:  We are.  And so that this left us with a big question.  BECAUSE, like the AA promising to help your dad, God had MADE some promises to Abraham and King David?  So, the question was, would God keep His promises?   Was the punishment in exile the end of the story?

Main Talk

Daisy:  I though you said God always keeps his promises?

Me:  Well he does.  And so after 70 years, God brought His people back from Babylon. Out of exile.  Back to their own special land, the Promised Land of Israel. 

Daisy:  So everything was alright again?

Me:  Not really, no.  Because when they got back, everything was in ruins. Even though they were back in their land, things were a mess and they didn't even have a proper King.  So they didn’t seem to be very blessed.  “Maybe God’s forgotten His promises” they thought?    Do you think he had? 

Daisy:  Not if God always keeps his promises.

Me:  Exactly.  Because God had a plan all along. Right back at the beginning, God had promised to send someone special. Someone who’d fix the problem of sin and disobedience.

Daisy:  What, sort of like the AA. 

Me:   Sort of yes.    Because God had told King David that one day he'd send a King from his family who’d rule over the whole world for ever.  And that King was also going to save His people from all the mess they were in.  

Daisy:  And GOD always KEEPS HIS PROMISES.

Me:   You’re getting it, yes.  And God's plan was that he was going to send his very own SON. And his son was going to fix the problem of sin and disobedience. God’s son was going to be King forever. And we’re going to look now at how that happened.    Because Sophies’ going to come read our first reading.  And you need to listen carefully, because I’ll be asking questions.

Reading 1 

Gabriel was an angel. He obeyed God.
Sometimes he took special news from God to people on earth.
One day God sent Gabriel to a young lady.  Her name was Mary.
Gabriel went to Mary and said “Greetings!  God is with you!”
Mary was afraid.  She wondered what he meant.
But Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid.  God loves you. 
He’s going to give you a baby.  You will name him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.  The Lord God will make Him a king, as His ancestor David was, and He will be the king of Abraham’s family for ever;  His kingdom will never end, just as God promised to King David.”
Mary was surprised.  “How can this be true because I’m a virgin?” she asked.
“Nothing is impossible with God,” said Gabriel.
“I believe you,” said Mary.  “I’ll do whatever God wants.”
Then Gabriel left Mary.

Me:  So who can tell me what the Angel’s name was ?   [Gabriel]

Daisy:  [with hand up]  me, me me..

Me:  Well I think we’ll let someone else have a go.  Anyone else?   [engage]

Still me: 

Who did Gabriel go to visit?  [Mary]

How did Mary react [scared]

What did the Angel say [you will have baby]

What name did Angel Gabriel say the Baby should have? [Jesus]

Why?  [Because he will save His people from their sins.]

What else did Gabriel say about the baby? [He's going to be GREAT, and will be called the SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will rule over Abraham's family forever; his Kingdom will never end.";  Jesus was somehow going to fulfil those promises to Abraham and David]

How do you think Mary felt? [She was excited. And a bit scared.]


And to find out what happened next, we’re going to have another reading:   

Daisy:  Can I do it;   pretty please???  

Me:  No, I think Teri’s going to do it. 

Reading 2:   

Now Mary loved a man named Joseph.  They were going to get married.
One day Joseph had to go to the city of Bethlehem, which was the City of David.  So Mary went with him. Bethlehem was crowded, because many people were there.
Joseph and Mary looked for a place to stay.  But there was no room anywhere.
All the beds were full. 
So Joseph and Mary had to stay in a stable where the donkeys and horses lived.
That night, God’s Son was born as Mary’s baby, just as the angel has said.
Mary and Joseph named him Jesus, just as the angel had told them to do.
They wrapped him up so he’d be warm. 
Mary made a sort of bed for him in a manger – a manger where the animals normally ate.
There in the manger, the baby Jesus slept.
Mary loved him.  Joseph loved him.  And God loved him.

Me:  What town were Mary and Joseph in when their baby was born? [Bethlehem] Where did they have to stay?  [Stable] Why:  [no rooms in all the hotels] Where did they put the baby to sleep [Manger—not nice cot; smelly] [banner of Jesus in the manger on screen] What did Marry & Joseph name they baby?   

Daisy:   [shouting out before anyone else]:    Jesus!  

Me:  Right again.  Now Jesus is an interesting name. Because it’s a name with a meaning. 

I wonder if anyone know the MEANINGS of their names?   [Daisy shakes head

Me again:  Well this week I looked a few names up in the Baby names book.  And Holly and Daisy are both named after plants.  Holly and Daisy.  But does anyone know what Malcolm means? [Daisy shakes head]

Me again:  Well Malcolm comes from 2 words in the old Gaelic language Mael Colum, which means follower of St Columba.    So that’s my name: Malcolm.  But I’m not actually a follower of St Columba— in fact I don’t really know who he was.  For me, Malcolm is just my name and it doesn’t really mean anything.  But for Jesus, His name did mean something. 

Who can remember what the name Jesus means?

Daisy:  GOD SAVES US.

Me:  Exactly.  And that's why the angel told Mary to give Jesus that name, because saving us is exactly what God sent his Son to do.  And instead of being born in a palace, he was born in a shed. There were some shepherds out in the fields looking after their sheep, and suddenly the sky lit up around them. And an angel appeared. And just like Mary, the shepherds were really scared. But the angel told them not to be frightened. Why?  Because he’d got some good news. He said "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL THE PEOPLE. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is God's special King!"

Daisy:  so Jesus really is like the man from the AA.

Me:  Sort of yes.  He saves us from the mess we’re in and blesses us. 

Daisy:  Saves us from what mess?

Me:    Well remember the disobedience of God’s people?

Daisy:  Like King Solomon and the Kings who followed him.

Me:  Yes and all of us too, because none of us perfectly obeys God’s rules and commandments.  And what does God have to do when we disobey Him and break His rules?

Daisy:  Punish us.

Me:  That’s right.  Like when he chucked Adam and Eve out of Eden and His people out of the Promised Land.    If we disobey God and ignore Him as our King, then when we die we’ll be excluded from his presence in Heaven. 

Daisy:  And that’s the mess that Jesus came to save us from?

Me:  Exactly.  By sending Jesus, God was saying:  I’m GOING TO keep the promises I made to Abraham and King David.  I’m going to send my son into the world.  And he will save my people from the mess of their sin.  Jesus will somehow deal with the judgment  we all deserve because of the way we’ve treated God.  By sending Jesus, God was keeping His promise to bless His people. 

Daisy:  Because God always keeps His promises. 

Me:  Right again. .   

Daisy:   But how can a baby in a smelly manger save His people.  Did he grow up to be a sort of lorry driver for the AA?   

Me:    Not exactly no.  Because God’s plan all along was for Jesus to die on the cross.   

Daisy:  But why?  How can a dead man save anyone?  

Me:   Because on the cross, Jesus was taking the punishment for all the bad things His people had ever done.   

Daisy:  Wow  -  that’s amazing!  

Me:  Amazing but true.  And that’s what we’ll be looking at a bit more in our next FS main FS on 2 September.  [picture of ‘Who will be king on the screen] But if you want a preview of how Jesus’s death saves His people from their sins, then pick up one of these Blue leaflets from the Information Stand at the back       But coming back to today, let’s pray now about what been learning this month in the story of the whole Bible and the coming of Jesus.    Let’s pray     Prayer     [Daisy exits during prayer]

Dear Heavenly Father, the world around us is a mess because people have rejected you and your rules for the best way to live.  So we thank you that you had a plan right from the start.  And thank you that this plan led to Jesus coming to earth as a baby.  Thank you for what J’s name means—God saves His people.  And we pray that you’d help us to live with Jesus as our King and saviour.  Amen.

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